Religious Affections Ministries has published a new hymnal, and it's available for free download.

Hymns to the Living God is notable for its slim size and the scarcity of copyright notices. Only 294 hymns were selected for inclusion, and nearly all of them are in the public domain.

Scott Aniol, founder of Religious Affections Ministries and chairman of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, explains what it was about Hymns Ancient and Modern, a groundbreaking Anglican hymnal published in 1861, that provided inspiration and model for the approach they took in assembling this new collection of hymns:

Hymns Ancient and Modern (HAM) became the benchmark for all subsequent hymnals for several reasons. First, the editors gave careful consideration to the text/tune marriages within. Previously, very fine hymn texts often fell to disuse due to the terrible tunes with which they were associated. HAM contained text/tune combinations still commonly used today, such as "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" with WINCHESTER OLD and "When Morning Gilds the Skies with LAUDES DOMINI.

Second, while most previous hymnals had little if any organization to the order of hymns, HAM was organized theologically and liturgically, categorizing hymns based on their purpose and use within the liturgy and broadly in the church year.

Third, desiring to recover some of what they considered lost in the worship tradition of the church, they translated the best of early and medieval Greek and Latin hymns into English, bringing some of the oldest hymns still sung today into use. They also translated several excellent German Lutheran hymns into English as well. This made HAM a truly "catholic" hymnal, drawing its collection from the best of all Christian traditions....

Fourth, although the hymnal editors objected to much of what they considered unhealthy sentimentalism in recently composed Victorian and evangelical revival hymns, they made a point to include what they considered the best of even those hymns....

Fifth, HAM gathered the best of "modern" hymns, including "Holy, Holy, Holy" by Reginald Heber, with NICAEA by John Dykes, and "Crown Him with Many Crowns" by Matthew Bridges, with DIADEMATA by George Elvey. The editors' goal was to sing newer hymns that matched the quality, both in text and tune, of ancient ones....

We had the same goal as the editors of HAM--rather than a descriptive hymnal that simply reflected what various churches were already singing, or a market-driven hymnal intended to appeal to the largest possible audience, we wanted to collect what we believe to be the best available hymns in the English language. We also had similar concerns as editors of HAM--we considered much of what has been written in the last 100 years and that has become the dominant song of evangelical churches to be weak compared to the rich heritage of the past, and so we wanted to create a collection that would model the best hymns, both ancient and modern.

As the editors are not from a liturgical tradition, they chose a different organizing principle:

Second, we carefully organized the hymns according to their usefulness in a liturgy that reenacts our covenantal relationship with God through Christ, beginning with God's revelation of himself and our adoration of him, leading to a recognition of our guilt and need for repentance and faith, then the solution to our need found in Jesus Christ's coming, life, death, and resurrection, followed by the Holy Spirit's work to bring us to Salvation, after which we hear God's Word, Submit ourselves to him, bring our Prayers before him, and experience Communion with him and with his Church. The hymnal concludes with songs of Commission, Comfort, and Benediction.

The editors of the new hymnal, published in 2017, re-tuned some hymns, but used traditional tunes for this purpose rather than insipid guitar riffs of the type that have emerged from the PCA's Reformed University Fellowship and infested congregational worship. "Rock of Ages" to the tune "Redhead", the traditional setting in the UK, is an improvement over the traditional American tune "Toplady" (too familiar from too many movie funeral scenes), and both are much to be preferred over the misaligned "New City Fellowship" tune, in which the natural rhythm of the words is undermined by the tune's tonal peaks. The editors pair "My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less" with "Melita," which you may know as the tune for the naval hymn "Eternal Father, Strong to Save."

The Baptist worship of my youth was dominated by the revival songs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while the treasures of 18th century English hymnody were only dusted off at Christmas time. Hymns to the Living God has included a small selection from the gospel song tradition, such as "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and "It Is Well with My Soul."

Only a handful of modern songs are included. Two of these are by James Montgomery Boice, the late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and host of Bible Study Radio Hour. A metrical paraphrase of the Apostle's Creed was commissioned specially for the new hymnal.

There are a few nitpicks. The editors print text-only for certain hymns, forcing the singer to turn to a different page to see the tune. I'd prefer to see four-part harmony with each hymn, even though it would increase page count and cost. Likewise, where there are multiple tune choices for a hymn, print both. I was disappointed to see "Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven" set to "Andrews." It's good that there's a note suggesting "Lauda Anima" (the tune I'm used to), but if you're leading a congregation, you want the music for your chosen tune in front of them. Some of my favorite hymns and tunes are missing. ("All My Hope on God Is Founded," for example.)

Musically, the editors are fans of Johann Sebastian Bach (12 hymns set to tunes that he composed or harmonized) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (10 hymns set to the English folk songs he adapted or his own majestic processional tunes).

There are a fair number of textual alterations noted. These are usually done for theological reasons (and I often sing the original text loudly, just to be contrary). I haven't examined all the alterations in Hymns to the Living God carefully, but one caught my eye. One verse "And Can It Be?" is typically altered by Calvinists to avoid conflicting with the doctrine of particular atonement and to avoid a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ's kenosis, or self-emptying. The original:

Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race;

is changed by the Trinity Hymnal to:

humbled himself (so great his love!),
and bled for all his chosen race.

while Hymns to the Living God uses

Emptied himself and came in love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race!

While it would be bulky and unnecessary to include an explanation for each alteration in the hymnal itself, it would be enlightening to be able to read a rationale for the changes made, whether textual or musical, on a companion website. The hymnal itself could bear to have a single-page explanation of the guiding philosophy behind those choices.

The preface to the hymnal does explain the theological rationale behind the choice of hymns and tunes. The editors reject the idea that a tune is simply a neutral vehicle for words:

Third, we have chosen hymn tunes that we believe best communicate the kinds of sentiments and affections that are fitting for biblical truth. Tozer wisely cautioned, "Human emotions are curious and difficult to arouse, and there is always a danger that they may be aroused by the wrong means and for the wrong reasons." The church's battle against heresy defined Christian orthodoxy; there is a sense in which its battle against irreverent worship has attempted to define orthopathy: right affections. Orthopathy cannot be defined as precisely as the creeds and confessions have delineated Christian doctrine, but hymnbooks function similarly to those confessions. They are an attempt to represent instances of ordinate affection. We hope you find that deep love for Christ pulsing through the veins of our hymnal. As with poetry, musical form is not neutral; rather, melody, harmony, and rhythm combine to give expression to right affections.

Christian educators have come to understand that effective discipleship is not merely about instructing the mind to believe what is right (orthodoxy) or directing the actions to do what is right (orthopraxy); training the affections to feel aright (orthopathy) is an essential link between thought and action and essential to a lifelong walk with Christ. The Abolition of Man, by C. S. Lewis, was my introduction to the importance of learning to love what is good, what is true, and what is beautiful.

The editors also state their case for publishing a physical hymn book in the digital age:

First, when you hold a hymnal in your hands, you hold something of your Christian heritage. The physical nature of a hymnal has the effect of embodying a collection of the work of the church triumphant, and in using such a book, you identify with the entire church, and you sing her experience into yours.

Second, when you hold a good hymnal in your hands, you are holding the distilled affective responses of hundreds, if not thousands, of believers. A hymnal is a testimony of how Christians collectively have responded to the various truths of the Christian life. With hymnal in hand, one can peruse these responses and use them as a point of comparison for those of contemporary Christianity.

Third, a good hymnal remains the best devotional literature we have. Devotional literature is formative, and while it does not necessarily have to be printed, hymns in printed form provide a convenient and settled collection for personal and family devotion....

A printed hymnal offers saints a thoughtfully curated collection of some of the finest extra-Biblical expressions of God's truth in warm, devotional form. In this hymnbook you will find the great fundamental doctrines of Christian orthodoxy represented. As John Wesley said of his own hymnal, "This book is, in effect, a little body of experimental and practical divinity." In this volume, you will find words and music to give wings to the Christian's ordinate affections, whether they be of adoration to the Triune God, or of thanksgiving to Christ as Mediator, or of bittersweet tears at His atoning passion, or of steadfast hope in the goodness of God amidst days of trial. So, we trust that this volume contains nothing but songs which are, in the words of Calvin, "not only honest, but also holy," songs which are not just theologically strong, but devotionally warm.

Hymns to the Living God is available as a pew-quality hardback at the very reasonable price of $13.99 or six for $78, and there's a spiral-bound edition for $19.99. You can download it for free as a PDF by providing your email address.

MORE from ReligiousAffections.org:

Kevin Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, has been posting an affectionate memoir of growing up in fundamentalism.

David de Bruyn
, pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, presents a parable about lollipops and pop music in church, the latest in a category of articles on aesthetics.

Tomorrow night (Saturday, March 2, 2019) is the annual Bob Wills birthday celebration at Cain's Ballroom, the site of weekly dances and daily radio broadcasts for bands fronted Bob and his brother Johnnie Lee for a quarter-century, from 1934 to 1959. Doors open at 6 p.m. Western Swing historian John Wooley will host a special live edition of his weekly "Swing on This" radio show from 7 to 8 on KWGS 89.5, with the band playing requests and dedications, and the dance will begin at 8:30.

Over the years since Bob Wills's death in 1975, alumni of the Texas Playboys have continued to perform western swing under various names and in various combinations. Leon McAuliffe led the Original Texas Playboys, which included sidemen from the pre-war years at Cain's -- Smokey Dacus, Al Stricklin, Joe Frank Ferguson, and Eldon Shamblin -- as well as others, like Leon Rausch and Keith Coleman, who worked with Bob later years. By prior agreement, when one of the originals, Al Stricklin, passed in 1986, the Original Texas Playboys played their remaining dates and disbanded. (You can watch the final concert of the Original Texas Playboys on YouTube.)

For many years guitarist Tommy Allsup and vocalist Leon Rausch fronted Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, with the official blessing of the Bob Wills estate. Allsup produced the Bob Wills / Tommy Duncan reunion albums for Liberty Records in the early 1960s and produced and played bass on "For the Last Time" in 1973. Rausch took over the Texas Playboys after Bob retired as a band leader in 1964. This Tommy and Leon gathered a band each year for the annual birthday celebration at Cain's Ballroom and the annual Bob Wills Day festival in Turkey, Texas, along with other appearances around the country. The lineup shifted from year, based on availability and ability to travel, but Leon and Tommy always managed to find sidemen who could really swing, who could produce the danceable improvisation that filled ballrooms, armories, and hangars across the American Southwest.

Allsup died in 2017. Rausch is 91 years old and decided last year he was ready to pass the baton on to a new leader.

There aren't many Texas Playboy alumni left. We lost steel guitarist Herb Remington, the last survivor from the late '40s Playboys, just last year.

The Bob Wills estate selected fiddler Jason Roberts to lead the band. With Asleep at the Wheel, Roberts played Bob Wills from his Tulsa days in the musical theater production A Ride with Bob. The band has a brand new Bob Wills' Texas Playboys website with the story of the band and bios of each of the sidemen and a new Facebook page. The group includes trumpeter Bob Bennett and trombonist Steve Ham from here in Tulsa and fiddler Shawn Howe from Welch. Saturday's dance will be the first Bob Wills birthday bash led by Roberts.

Tickets are available online and are $30 (including fee) at the door. Should be a great time.

MORE:

Dedications from Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys midnight dance broadcast on Saturday night, December 6, 1941. Requests came from as far away as Welder, Minnesota, and were sent to folks as far away as southern California -- and even one to a young sailor, George Spencer from Sperry, aboard the U.S.S. Helm, stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (The Helm was the only ship under way when the attack began, engaging a Japanese mini-sub in the harbor. The destroyer served in the New Hebrides and survived the war.)

John Wooley wrote this feature story for Oklahoma Magazine about Brett Bingham, the western swing aficionado who serves as the new lineup's manager.

St. John's College is famous as the college that pioneered the Great Books curriculum in 1937. Still known as "The New Program," the single track takes all students through the progression of western literature, mathematics, philosophy, science, and music, through the authors and works in which the great insights of Western Civilization were first expressed.

From time to time, the college profiles an accomplished alumnus about his life and work and how a St. John's College education prepared him for his vocation. Today SJC published an interview with Timothy Carney, commentary editor for the Washington Examiner and author of a new book, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse. Carney graduated from the Annapolis campus in 2000. In the interview, Carney ties his insights about connection and community back to his college readings of Homer, Tocqueville, and Aristotle:

I refer to the Cyclops from the Iliad, pointing out that it's a beast that tries to raise his family without society around it, and that humans aren't meant to do that. Even though he's sort of a nice family man, he's still a beast because he's not in society. That's one of the important lessons here: We have a lot of people correctly saying that strong families are the building blocks of a strong community. But I think it's very important to emphasize that it's the necessary infrastructure around strong families that make strong families possible....

To some extent, Tocqueville talked about 80 percent of what I talk about here, which is local small institutions and particularly religion in American life. This was something I read 20 years ago, but I didn't understand until I was trying to raise a family and all that stuff was really important. And there's the notion that man is a political animal from [Aristotle's] Politics. It was also something that in the 23 years since I read it has taken on a deeper meaning.

In the acknowledgments of the book, I actually start off with a story about Mera Flaumenhaft. She had just finished her book on the ethics of Euripides, Shakespeare, and Machiavelli. And she turned to Mr. Flaumenhaft and said, "I'm afraid there's nothing new in this book." And he replied something like, 'Oh, Mera, if there were anything new, that would be a sure sign it was wrong.'

The great insights that we make are going to be standing on the shoulders of giants, as we like to say. [They] are going to be synthesizing other insights. So that was a great thing that carried me through as I would write stuff and think I had come up with a new interpretation and then find either Tocqueville or Robert Putnam or just some essay online with exactly the same argument.

If we were going to not publish truths that weren't new, we would've stopped shortly after Aristotle at least.

Carney also talks about the benefits of St. John's apolitical approach to the classics, which he witnessed during the heat of the Clinton impeachment drama: "If you're going to get into this political fray as an adult after college, you're better off spending four years thinking about these things removed from the heat of the current political debate and the temptations of partisanship or oversimplistic ideologies."

Also in the interview, Carney discusses the influence of his St. John's education on his political and religious views and offers advice for St. John's students interested in journalism.

I first met Tim at a gathering of right-of-center writers and journalists before the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. He was working for Bob Novak and the Evans and Novak Political Report. Tim, Robert A. George (another St. John's graduate, now on the editorial board of the New York Daily News), and I had an enjoyable and wide-ranging conversation that evening. Tim was very interested in Tom Coburn's campaign for Senate. Carney's appreciation of Coburn makes sense in light of his years of reporting on corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

We'd be much better off as a nation if there were more reporters and columnists with the depth and breadth of a classical liberal arts education.

MORE about Timothy Carney:

Why Ex-Churchgoers Flocked to Trump: Timothy Carney's piece in The American Conservative, summarizing the findings in his new book.

Trump's improbable likeness to a mega-church preacher allowed him to capture the love of a huge swath of the electorate that previously tuned out or voted for Democrats. The people who came to Trump, especially early in the primaries, weren't really joining the GOP and they weren't primarily seeking policies. They didn't even necessarily believe Trump would bring back their jobs. Many of Trump's earliest and most dedicated supporters were seeking a deeper fulfillment.

They came to Trump seeking what they had lost because they had lost church.

When Trump caught so many political commentators off guard, we looked for an explanation amid the closing factories, but we should have been looking for the closing churches....

And this is a story much bigger than Trump. Trump's early appeal was his declaration that "the American Dream is dead," as he put it in his campaign launch. Faith in the American Dream is the weakest where people lack strong religious institutions where they can seek deeper meaning.

The best way to describe Trump's support in the Republican primaries--when he was running against the likes of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich--would be: white evangelicals who do not go to church....

There was one cluster defined by being non-ideological and being pessimistic about the future. Ekins labeled them the "Preservationists." This was Trump's strongest cluster in the GOP primaries, by far.

The Preservationists, Ekins found, were the most likely to say religion was very important to them. They were also the least likely to attend religious services.

This gave an easy and satisfying explanation during the primaries to Christian conservatives put off by Trump and his base: Oh, these are hypocrites, not real Christians.

That dismissive explanation misses the point. We shouldn't see this as a story of working-class whites slacking off and turning away from God, as much as one of working-class whites finding themselves in places where institutions of civil society--most importantly the church--are drying up.

Cultural alienation and the rootless killer in Vegas: Carney's October 10, 2017 column:

The search for the shooter's motive keeps turning up nothing. The nothing here may actually tell us something, though. This was a man untethered to society. He was unmarried. He was unchurched. He was unrooted. He was adrift.

"Steve was a private guy," his brother said, "That's why you can't find any motive."

Maybe not a motive, exactly, but perhaps we've found a context. The context was cultural alienation, which is the backdrop of so much of America's current tumult.

When trying to explain the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, one local publisher used the phrase "social vacancy." Writer Margot Talbot expanded on the publisher's point: "Many drug addicts, he explained, are 'trying to escape the reality that this place doesn't give them anything.'"

There's no support structure, no sense of purpose. Other people become abstractions, and thus they are at best means to ends.

A rumble on the Mall feeds into the war on institutions: Carney connects the Covington Catholic High School controversy to a broader attack on the mediating institutions that uphold individuals and families standing against the culture:

The prior week, the media had been freaking out that Karen Pence teaches at a Christian school that demands its students and faculty follow Christian teachings, including on sexuality. "How can this happen in America?" one Washington Post editor cried on Twitter. In other words, it should be impermissible for institutions to maintain rules that don't comport with elite sexual morality. You see, individuals may be allowed to believe those weird Christian views, but institutions are not allowed to uphold them.

This was right after two Democratic senators tried to brand the Knights of Columbus an extremist organization. The senators, including the very prosecutorial presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., were suggesting that membership in the Knights, a service organization, disqualified a judicial nominee. Why? Because the Knights are all-male and espouse Catholic teaching on issues like abortion.

Again, people are allowed to disagree with the court-made law on abortion, but institutions of civil society that hold such dissenting views as a matter of policy -- they are the enemies of the people.

Alexis de Tocqueville warned us of this impulse. "Among democratic peoples it is only by association that the resistance of citizens to the central power can come about," the Frenchman wrote, "consequently, the latter never sees associations that are not under its control except with disfavor."

MORE about St. John's College:

Here's the original New Program from 1937, published as an addendum to the college catalog.

Here's the St. John's reading list from 1940 with a description of differences with the current curriculum.

Searching through archives, I found this item that I drafted on 3/15/2007, but never finished. Since 2007, Time has placed its archives behind a paywall; the links are all still valid, but unless you pay for a pass, you'll only see an excerpt. But I was also able to find a new article about the 1928 conference and film of Tulsa at that time.

I was looking through Time magazine's archives for references to Tulsa. Time has put all of its back issues online, going back to the '20s.

Media bias in religion coverage is nothing new. Here are some examples from Time's coverage of the 1928 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA), which was held in Tulsa. This was the northern half of the Presbyterian mainline, which split over the Civil War in 1861 and reunited in the 1980s. Despite Oklahoma's Southern location and the Five Civilized Tribes' connections with the Confederacy, it was the Northern Presbyterian denomination that first evangelized the tribes and established the first church in Tulsa.

As you read what follows, keep in mind that "fundamentalist" at this point is used to describe Christians who affirm the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the literal, bodily resurrection of Christ, the doctrine that God created the heavens and the earth, and the truth of the miracles described in the Bible.

Here's an article from a March 12, 1928, preview to the 1928 PCUSA general assembly. The first sentence subtly paints fundamentalists as unreasonably refusing to abandon an important doctrine:

For Presbyterians, the Virgin birth is a bone of contention which fundamentalists will not permit liberals to bury. Recently Rev. Dr. Albert Parker Fitch, famed modernist, was installed in the pulpit of the Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. Last week, Rev. Dr. Walter Duncan Buchanan, fundamentalist, filed with the Presbyterian General Assembly a complaint about Dr. Fitch. At the annual meeting of the assembly, this year to be held at Tulsa, Okla., late in May, Presbyterian squabbles are given a good thorough airing. This may be one of the squabbles which will enliven this year's session: New York Presbytery against the field.

From the June 11, 1928, issue, a report on the decisions made by 1928 PCUSA general assembly. Note how a debate over doctrine is dismissed as an "unfortunate uproar." Fundamentalists are portrayed as raging beasts, blowing and stamping, while Modernists reason, and Moderates are clear-thinking:

Often enough in the past,, the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. A. has been an unfortunate uproar concerned with such things as how a god can have a mortal father. Fundamentalists have blown and stamped, Modernists have scoffed and reasoned, Moderates have explained and pleaded. This year, the meeting in Tulsa, Okla., had a minimum of excursions and alarms. The Fundamentalists were apparently in sufficient majority to achieve victory in the things which lay nearest their hearts and Bibles; they could not, however, expect to work their wills...

The first thing for the Presbyterians to do was to elect a moderator to succeed Dr. Robert E. Speer. This they did with rapidity on the first ballot. The new moderator is Dr. Hugh Kelso Walker, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, a clear thinking moderate, who has never embroiled himself in the Fundamentalist v. Modernist controversy. He beat the Fundamentalist candidate, Dr. J. Ambrose Dunkel of the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, by a vote of 593 to 318. The moderate moderator named a vice moderator to help him in administering the affairs of his church. This was the Rev. Joseph M. Broady of Birmingham, Ala....

Their chief officers chosen, the commissioners of the Assembly proceeded to perilous business. What was to be done about many recent proposals for uniting the Presbyterian Church with other denominations? The Presbyterians refused to consider amalgamation with such sects as Christian, Universalist and Congregational Churches, because doctrinal differences seemed too extreme to eliminate at this time.

From the following year, a June 3, 1929, report on the 1929 PCUSA General Assembly in St. Paul. The defender of Biblical doctrine is "ultra," a "mouthpiece," and he "stormed, often discourteously," "fulminated," "lashed." Orthodoxy is "dour."

The question was: should the government of Princeton Theological Seminary be changed? Upon the answer, even if it remained implicit, largely depended the Assembly's choice for Moderator (to succeed Dr. Hugo Kelso Walker of Los Angeles) and the policy and perhaps the doctrine of the greatest, wealthiest, oldest Presbyterian seminary in the U. S.

For several months, ultra-Fundamental and orthodox Dr. Samuel L. Craig had stormed, often discourteously, in the pages of his weekly, The Presbyterian. He fulminated against the President of Union Theological Seminary, Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin, because he seemed liberal. He lashed the President of the Princeton Seminary, Dr. J. Ross Stevenson, because he wanted the change. With holy passion he appealed to his readers to realize the gravity of the question. There were other appeals for prayers, for votes.

The impending change meant vesting the control of the Seminary in one board consisting of the present board of directors and the board of trustees. These now form two individual groups, between whom there has been much friction. Slight though this change might seem to laity, Dr. Craig perceived therein the horrid possibility that President Stevenson might thus gain great individual power, that the dour orthodoxy of Princeton might become liberalized. Dr. Stevenson once said that he wanted Princeton to represent the whole Presbyterian church, instead of only the right wing of Presbyterianism. Dr. Craig, mouthpiece of the Right Wing, was assisted by Drs. John Gresham Machen and Robert Dick Wilson of the Princeton Seminary.

Meanwhile, from the May 21, 1928 issue, a report on the 1928 Methodist quadrennial conference describes an accusation against a liberal bishop as "brewed in bitterness":

This was the most important action taken last week by delegates to the Quadrennial Conference. Also, they:

Unanimously asserted their confidence in famed liberal Bishop McConnell of Pittsburgh and ordered expunged a charge against him, brewed in bitterness by one George A. Cooke, of Wilmington, Del., of "maladministration and immorality."

From November 21, 1927, issue, news of an overture to the next general assembly regarding divorce.

All U. S. rejoicing in economic prosperity and all self congratulations upon its vast educational system is like the sound of cheerful music as the funeral procession winds its way to the grave, so long as one out of six U. S. marriages ends with divorce. Last week Clarence Edward Noble MacArtney of Pittsburgh and William Chalmers Covert of Philadelphia who have studied the divorce problem for the Presbyterian church, sent that message to 10,000 Presbyterian ministers and recommended that the Presbyterian general assembly at Tulsa, Oklahoma, next May, permit only adultery as the ground for Presbyterian divorces.

This item is notable in that the aim of reducing the divorce rate is shown in a positive light, and it's taken as a given that marriage stability is more important to a nation than wealth and education. In 1928, modernists would say that the miraculous aspects of Christianity could be excised while retaining Christian moral and ethical standards. Forty years or so later, the PCUSA's moral objections to divorce, no longer anchored by the authority of the Bible, were washed away with the tide of the culture.

MORE:

In his 1923 book Christianity and Liberalism, Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen explains that modernist or liberal Christianity is an entirely different religion than Christianity, which uses Christian terms while rejecting its substance. This Day in Presbyterian History, an excellent blog by my friend Wayne Sparkman, director of the Presbyterian Church in America History Center, has an article about Christianity and Liberalism by Chalmers W. Alexander, writing in the Southern Presbyterian Journal in 1949.

This article about the 1928 General Assembly on the Presbyterian Historical Society website doesn't get into the issues and outcomes of the general assembly, but it does feature some history of First Presbyterian Church, the growth of the church and the city, and a postcard of the 1910 First Presbyterian sanctuary. In the five-minute silent film of the conference, you'll see the brand new Gothic Revival sanctuary next to the 1910 building, a glimpse of Boston Avenue Methodist Church still under construction, the original Kendall Hall at the University of Tulsa, and aerial views of downtown, TU, and the area.

Bookmarked for further reading: The City of Tulsa commissioned Place Dynamics of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to do a study of Tulsa's retail health and to identify strategies for improvement. The 245-page Tulsa Retail Market Study and Strategy report is now online.

From the city website:

The City of Tulsa relies on sales tax income within the city limits to fund operations, maintenance and capital improvements. It is the lifeblood of our revenue stream and is supported by economic development initiatives that create jobs. As part of the Vision Tulsa initiative, the City hired a consultant, Place Dynamics, LLC of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to prepare a comprehensive market analysis and strategy to:
  • Provide a retail market study
  • Assess specific retail districts (districts to be determined)
  • Review the emergence of the small box retail stores
  • Investigate the cash economy, where financial transactions are carried out in cash, rather than debit withdrawals or credit.
  • Forecast for growth and demand
  • Develop a market-based economic development strategy

Working with our retail stakeholders (representatives from banking, real estate management, local business, developer, chamber, economic development) we will examine the big picture of our retail environment, by identifying the trends that shape both retail and dining industries, and how they play out in Tulsa. Select districts will undergo a more in-depth analysis to assess their potential and the degree to which they meet the needs of the trade areas they serve. The end result will be a market-based economic development strategy with recommendations to help guide future business programming and incentives.

The report states: "A total of 13 study areas were selected for analysis, with the intent of examining a cross-section of commercial area types. In doing so, they [sic] areas that were studied will serve as case studies and models that may be applicable in other locations across the city." Here's the list, with my annotations in brackets.

  • Pine and Peoria [including Pine west to the Midland Valley Trail]
  • Pine and Sheridan [I-244 north to OK-11]
  • 21st Street corridor [nodes from 15th to 23rd at Yale, Sheridan, and Memorial]
  • Downtown
  • Route 66 East [11th Street from Peoria to Columbia, plus 6th Street from Peoria to St. Louis]
  • Tulsa Promenade [includes Southroads, OU-Tulsa campus, Highland Plaza]
  • 51st and Union [51st from 33rd West Ave to US 75]
  • 71st and Peoria [Peoria from 61st to 71st; 71st from Peoria to Joe Creek]
  • 51st and Memorial [includes Fontana Center, Memorial from 46th to 51st]
  • 71st Street Corridor [Memorial to Garnett]
  • International District [21st Street from Garnett to 129th East Ave]
  • River West/Eugene Field [West Tulsa townsite]
  • 36th Street North [Cincinnati to Peoria]

This is not the first time that Tulsa has asked an outside consultant to help boost its retail profile. In 2004, the City of Tulsa commissioned the Buxton Group to identify sites for new retail development that would help the city capture a greater share of regional retail dollars. Buxton pinpointed two key locations -- 71st Street and U. S. 75 on the west side; I-44 at 129th East Ave on the east side -- that would capture customers inside and outside the city limits. The first site became the Tulsa Hills development, thanks to the tireless efforts of then-City Councilor Chris Medlock. National retailers that might have located in Jenks landed within Tulsa's city limits instead, allowing us to capture sales tax revenue for city operations. The east-side site was never developed beyond a McDonald's. National retailers that might have found a home there within Tulsa's city limits instead located near the Hard Rock Casino in Catoosa.

In writing the previous entry about the Covington Catholic High School students, I wrote about how local Tulsa media pushed a narrative that Tulsa City Councilors, particularly those elected with grassroots support over the objections of the chamber of commerce, developers, and other special interest groups, were bickering troublemakers. This narrative was used to trash the reputations of diligent, intelligent councilors who dug into issues, asked insightful (and uncomfortable) questions, and refused to be rubber stamps. Believe it or not, there was a time when we had councilors like that.

In researching the previous article, I came across some BatesLine articles that are worth re-reading as background to the current situation at City Hall. The excerpts below deal specifically with bickering, but click the links to delve deeper and get a primer in Tulsa's recent political history. Most of the articles were about specific City Council races, but I took the opportunity to address recurring themes.

September 7, 2009:

When I asked [Phil] Lakin about why he was running for City Council, he talked about infighting and bickering between council and mayor and between city and county. He seemed to blame the councilors for the mayor keeping them in the dark.

Lakin's critique of some current councilors reminds me of what I've heard from other councilors in the past about their predecessors. The gist of it: "If they'd just be nicer, people would pay more attention to the substance of what they're saying." Many of the councilors who have said that in the past have later learned the hard way that as soon as you challenge the power or the budget of some entrenched interest, everyone will think you aren't nice, no matter how nicely you make your case. The newspaper will run pictures that make you look angry. The mayor will accuse you of bickering. And then some council candidate will come along and tell you that if you'd just be nicer, people would pay more attention to the substance of what you're saying.

July 24, 2011:

What I saw in that Tuesday meeting fit a pattern that I've seen often during 20 years of involvement in local politics. A city bureaucrat looks at the certificates on the wall and his years of service and assumes he is the authority not merely about how things are done but the authority on what ought to be done.

So a new city councilor or a new member of an authority, board, or commission comes into office with a concern that isn't being effectively addressed by city government. The first answer from the bureaucracy is rarely, "Gee, why didn't we think of that?" It's almost always, "Nothing can be done," or, "We've never done it that way." And that answer is supposed to be the end of it.

If the councilor (or commissioner) persists, the bureaucracy attempts to re-educate the councilor, in the most condescending manner possible, to understand that his ideas are impossible to implement. Rather than saying, "Let's see how we can meet your concerns," the bureaucracy delivers the message, "Your concerns are ignorant and illegitimate."

What happens next depends on how the councilor deals with the initial rebuff. Some simply back off and tackle another issue. Some, like Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, become fully assimilated to the point where they'll defend the status quo and attack any other councilor who challenges it.

Then you have the councilors who do their own research, who dig into ordinances and budgets and case law and what other cities are doing, and they persist in asking "why not?" and presenting alternatives. From a bureaucrat's point of view, such a councilor is a pain in the posterior, a threat to their comfortable, stable existence, and must be taken down. If you can use your lack of cooperation to provoke the councilor, passive-aggressively, to the point of expressing his irritation, you win.

Since this sort of inquisitive, pro-active councilor also poses a threat to other entrenched interests, the aggrieved bureaucrat can usually find a helping hand from the various organs of the Cockroach Caucus, who miss the days when all one had to do was pull on their strings to get the councilors to do their bidding. The obligatory unflattering photo, misleading headline, twisted caricature, and tut-tutting editorial follow in due course.

It's a misunderstanding of the nature of bureaucracy to think that bureaucrats will be supportive and encouraging of a councilor's ideas for new ways to solve a problem, if only the councilor will be polite and patient. (People seeking public office really should read Jim Boren's books first.) It's not that bureaucrats are bad people, but it's a profession that tends to attract the risk-averse. You don't climb in a bureaucracy by taking risks. The exceptions to the rule are there, and they're real treasures because they're rare. Too often, bureaucrats will try to wait the councilor out -- keep holding meetings, keep delaying a final plan, until the councilor gets interested in another project or gets voted out of office.

It's a pretty good indication that a city councilor is doing what he ought to be doing if he's getting shot at by the bureaucracy and the daily paper. Jim Mautino is a good councilor, and if District 6 voters want an advocate for their interests who won't be deterred by bureaucratic foot-dragging, they'll return Jim Mautino to office this fall.

To which I would only add that people seeking public office should also watch Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister to learn the ways of bureaucrats.

September 3, 2011:

Too many city leaders, who only skirt the edge of the district on their way to Grand Lake, are content to make this part of town as a dumping ground for ugliness. Jim Mautino sees District 6's section of I-44 as the gateway to Tulsa from the east and northeast, an ideal spot to capture retail dollars from visitors to the city and thus sales tax revenues to fund the level of service Tulsans expect from their city government.

Jim's focus on developing within the city limits has made him a target for those with a vested interest in using city assets to fuel development in our suburbs. His opposition to disadvantageous long-term water deals between Tulsa and growing suburbs was a major factor in the unsuccessful 2005 effort to recall him from office.

I have a litmus test for people who comment on city politics. If all they can talk about is the "terrible bickering" on the City Council, I know that they've absorbed the latest meme -- a meme pushed by those special interests who want all power concentrated in a mayor they can control -- but they haven't really been paying attention. This council has worked well together, with a long list of significant accomplishments while fending off lawsuits and sniping from Bartlett Jr and his allies.

When Jim returned to City Hall in 2009, he set out to be newly elected Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr's strongest advocate on the City Council. He urged his fellow councilors to give Bartlett Jr the benefit of the doubt for at least six months as he got his new administration going. Despite their good-faith effort to work with the new mayor, Bartlett Jr managed to alienate each councilor, one by one, with broken promises, misleading information, and contemptuous treatment.

Mautino may have been Bartlett Jr's last supporter on the Council. The final straw was Bartlett Jr's response to Mautino's recommendation for a vacancy on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. Mautino had suggested Al Nichols, a mild-mannered retired Air Force officer and long-time leader of the Mingo Valley Neighborhood Association, as someone who could bring some much-needed geographical and neighborhood balance to the TMAPC. Bartlett Jr seemed very receptive, but a short time later Bartlett Jr told Mautino that Nichols was "toxic," presumably because Nichols was knowledgeable enough about zoning and planning not to be a puppet for the developers' lobby. Instead, Bartlett continued to delay, ultimately nominating former Councilor Eric Gomez, who had very recently been rejected for re-election by his constituents.

September 10, 2011:

A small group of wealthy Tulsans want total control of city government. They don't want thoughtful citizens on the City Council who will ask direct questions or who will stand firm against special-interest manipulation. They want a City Council full of well-trained monkeys who will vote on command. They exist under various names -- TulsaBizPac, Coalition for Responsible Government, Tulsans for Better Government, Save Our Tulsa -- I call them the Cockroach Caucus. They've used unsubstantiated claims of "bickering" and "ward politics" to discredit the councilors we've elected to represent us.

These are the people, the Cockroach Caucus, who created a year of turmoil with their 2004-2005 attempt to recall two city councilors over policy differences. For all the whining and complaining they do about "Council bickering," they dragged the city through a divisive year of attacks and smears, all because they didn't like the results of an election, and they refused to work harmoniously with the councilors that the people of Tulsa had elected.

These are the people who led us into the Great Plains Airlines mess. They promised us openly that the taxpayers were at no financial risk, while they were secretly promising financiers that the taxpayers would pick up the tab if their wacky airline idea failed. It failed, state taxpayers coughed up $30 million in transferable tax credits with nothing to show for it, and Tulsa taxpayers got saddled with $7.1 million, which we're paying for with higher property taxes.

These are the Midtown Money Belt people who don't like the councilors that east and west and south and north Tulsa elect to represent our interests at City Hall. Middle-class and working-class Tulsans want more cops on the beat, city pools that open in the summer, streets that don't tear our cars to pieces, zoning that protects our neighborhoods against shoddy redevelopment, and economic policies that attract and keep growing businesses. The Midtown Money Belt types want taxpayers to subsidize their entertainment -- islands in the river, expensive concerts at the arena, WNBA. They want us to subsidize the success of their investments in suburban real estate, at the expense of growth within the city limits to help fund public safety and infrastructure.

So because they don't like the fact that the rest of us elect councilors focused on efficient basic city services, these people propose charter changes to dilute geographical representation on the City Council. They yearn for the days when you could drive a golf ball from the Mayor's midtown backyard into the yards of the other city commissioners. They want to pack the council with at-large councilors who have to be wealthy enough to afford a city-wide race or beholden to those who are.

These people have decided to back a group of candidates so they can take back control of the City Council. They don't care if their candidates are well-informed, and they don't want candidates with the backbone to oppose special interests who want to misuse city resources for their own benefit.

June 22, 2014:

Another thing you can do to make me regret my endorsement is to send a letter that refers to the "constant petty bickering" of the 2009-2011 City Council. The reality is that the nine councilors got along very well with one another and worked together across partisan lines. The problem, from Dewey Jr's point of view, is that they were united in their distress with Dewey Jr's actions and his refusal to build a cooperative working relationship. So Dewey Jr and his Chamber and developer buddies promoted the "petty bickering" meme and redrew the district lines to separate these councilors from the citizens who knew and appreciated them. The same people who wanted them gone want you gone, too, and for the same reasons.

There is a repeating pattern: A new reformer comes to the Council and arrogantly thinks, "The reason my bozo predecessors got tossed is they refused to be intelligent and polite in their approach. I'm going to be intelligent and polite and everyone will love me and accept my ideas." Guess what? Your "bozo" predecessors thought the same thing about their predecessors. No, the problem is that their ideas and your ideas are threatening to certain special interests, and they will paint you as a troublemaker and a petty bickerer so that low-information voters can't wait to toss you out of office....

Have some respect for the councilors who blazed this trail before you. Because of their willingness to take risks and endure ridicule and defamation, the Overton Window is open a little wider for you.

Mollie Z. Hemingway asks, regarding the unraveling of the mainstream media narrative about activist Nathan Phillips and his confrontation last weekend with the young men of Covington Catholic School:

The thing I keep thinking about: if many media types are dishonest about reporting contradicted and shown to be dangerously false by hours of extensive video evidence, how astronomically much are they misreporting their claims based on absolutely nothing but anonymous sources?

To which Just Tom replied:

Tom's Test: Pick a subject you absolutely are an expert in. Review the media coverage of that subject. Ask yourself, if the media has that record in something you know about, what is their probable record in subjects you aren't an expert in?

Which is another way of phrasing the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, as defined by bestselling author Michael Crichton:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray [Gell-Mann]'s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward--reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

You can extend the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect beyond one's area of expertise to events one has personally witnessed. Some of us who have attended a public hearing have read or watched news reports of the hearing and wondered whether the reporter was even present. Or perhaps the reporter was just so ignorant of the relevant laws and procedures that he didn't understand which parts of the hearing mattered and why.

But after you've encountered a number of these disconnects between what you know to be true and how it's being reported, you notice a pattern: The "mistakes" always seem to run in one direction. The reporters and editors choose to publish stories and to report only those elements of a story advance a particular narrative. Like any good fiction writer, they choose adjectives and adverbs that will induce a particular emotional reaction to the characters in the story and the issues at stake.

If subject-matter experts and engaged citizens are susceptible to Gell-Mann Amnesia as they read and watch the news, how much more are the bulk of voters who don't have an area of personal knowledge or expertise that might tip them off to the possible inaccuracy of what they see in the news?

The classic example here in Tulsa was the years-long effort to portray Tulsa City Councilors as useless, bickering wretches. Those of us who attended City Hall hearings and townhall meetings knew that in fact the councilors targeted by the Whirled and other outlets were heroically fighting for the interests of homeowners and taxpayers against entrenched special interests. But engaged citizens are always a minority in any election, and the proportion of voters with first-hand knowledge of City Hall and their city councilor was diluted by the 2011 gerrymander and further diluted by the move of city elections to the same date as state and federal elections. The voters without that first-hand knowledge of City Hall knew only the "bickering" narrative promoted by the local media and reinforced by campaign material funded by those same special interests.

When I was researching my article on the brief existence of Swanson County, I was struck by the open partisanship displayed by the newspapers of 1910. The Kiowa County Democrat in Snyder carried lengthy front page articles arguing for the creation of the new county and attacking the arguments of the naysayers. As the Swanson County Democrat, the paper was unabashed in taking Snyder's side in the dispute over the location of the county seat. If you wanted to read anything positive about Mountain Park or about the sheriff (the lone elected official who stayed put in Mountain Park), you weren't going to read it in the Democrat. The reader was better served by the blatant and unabashed bias on display than the veneer of neutrality adopted by modern media outlets to hide the narrative they seek to push; the reader of a century ago would have been under no illusion that the paper would give him both sides of the story and would have known to look to other sources to round out his view of an issue.

The Covington Catholic / Nathan Phillips story is helpful in reminding a broader swath of news consumers to be skeptical of what media outlets are trying to feed them. The existence of multiple video sources, longer than the original viral video, uncut, and from multiple vantage points, shifted the question from "Aren't these MAGA-hat kids horrible?" to "Who you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes?" Let's hope that the experience overcomes the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect and inspires a skepticism that extends even to stories for which there is no video and to news outlets of every medium from the global to the local.


RELATED:

In 2017, a former Oklahoman researching a story for the Guardian contacted me, claiming to want an informed conservative perspective on Oklahoma's budget problems. My answers didn't fit his preferred narrative, so he reduced my hundreds of words of analysis, offered in good faith, to a dismissive phrase set in a misleading context. Lesson learned.

Dan Levin from the New York Times got severely "ratioed" when he posted the following Tweet:

I'm a New York Times reporter writing about #exposechristianschools. Are you in your 20s or younger who went to a Christian school? I'd like to hear about your experience and its impact on your life. Please DM me.

Alumni of evangelical and Catholic schools and from the Christian homeschooling movement quickly responded to say positive things about their educational experience and at the same time cast doubt on Levin's good faith, based on his Twitter timeline to that point. The assumption was that he would minimize or exclude positive testimonies in favor of those that could be used to paint Christian education in a negative light, in an attempt to build popular support for legal attacks on Christian education. I paged through Levin's previous retweets from the #exposechristianschools hashtag and all that I found were negative about Christian education. Since the above tweet appeared and received an overwhelmingly negative reaction, Levin has retweeted at least as many positive testimonies of Christian education as negative.

(In Twitter parlance, ratioed refers to the ratio of the number of replies to the number of likes and retweets, with the assumption that replies are generally negative reaction, while likes are positive, as, generally, are retweets, although Twitter users may retweet an item accompanied by a negative comment. In this case, as I write this, there were 9.2K replies to 2,002 likes, and 1,192 retweets, or roughly a 3:1 negative ratio.)

The #ExposeChristianSchools hashtag started to trend after news that Karen Pence, wife of the Vice President, was returning to teach at a Christian school which upholds Biblical views on marriage and sex, something regarded as a scandal by the Left. At 12:39 a.m. on January 20, I noticed that the "Top" 20 tweets for that hashtag had likes and retweets in the single and low-double digits, while responses favorable to Christian schools had been pushed down. The maximum number likes of any tweet in the "Top" 20 was 57, while the tweet ranked 21st had over 17000 likes, followed by more favorable tweets with thousands of likes. It appeared that someone at Twitter was manually tweaking the algorithm to favor opinions condemning Christian schools.

Rod Dreher points out that Levin had been tweeting such articles as an attack on the Home School Legal Defense Alliance. Dreher writes, "The New York Times is trying to gin up anti-Christian hatred," and notes that this sort of thing may push more Trump-hostile or -ambivalent Christians into supporting his re-election in 2020:

A Christian friend who has been a very strong opponent of Trump, but publicly and privately, these past few years, texted to say that the Levin tweet, and what it represents, has forced him to think that he might have to vote for Trump in 2020 simply because the hatred of the Left is so frightening.

MORE:

This recent New Yorker story by Jill Lepore traces the evolution of American journalism from the strongly partisan press of the 19th century, the shift to just-the-facts reporting for a mass audience in the early 20th century, the move to a more adversarial and interpretive role beginning in the 1960s, the failures of newspapers to recognize the business opportunities and dangers of the Internet, and the influence of Facebook, Google, and click-tracking on editorial judgment. She bookends the historical sketch with homey reminiscences of helping with her family's paper route delivering the Worcester Telegraph and Gazette in the 1970s. About the current state of play, Lepore writes:

All kinds of editorial decisions are now outsourced to Facebook's News Feed, Chartbeat, or other forms of editorial automation, while the hands of many flesh-and-blood editors are tied to so many algorithms. For one reason and another, including twenty-first-century journalism's breakneck pace, stories now routinely appear that might not have been published a generation ago, prompting contention within the reportorial ranks....

There's plenty of room to argue over these matters of editorial judgment. Reasonable people disagree. Occasionally, those disagreements fall along a generational divide. Younger journalists often chafe against editorial restraint.... Sometimes younger people are courageous and sometimes they are heedless and sometimes those two things are the same....

In the age of Facebook, Chartbeat, and Trump, legacy news organizations, hardly less than startups, have violated or changed their editorial standards in ways that have contributed to political chaos and epistemological mayhem.

At NiemanLab, Brian Moritz warns that the "subscriptionpocalypse" is about to hit, and that's bad news for local newspapers.

Eventually, consumers' subscription budgets hit a wall. We can't assume people are going to subscribe to everything. You can't expect people to subscribe to their local paper (which is vital to democracy, we tell them) AND The New York Times and the Washington Post (because Democracy Dies in the Dark) AND Netflix AND Hulu AND HBO Go AND The Athletic AND ESPN Plus AND their favorite podcast on Patreon AND ...

I found that item from this thread by journalism professor Jeremy Littau, tracing the financial decline of newspapers to the 1970s, as subscription rates year over year began to drop, and as chains began to gobble up local newspapers and take on massive debt in the process. Also discussed: The insane profit margins once enjoyed by local papers, the advent of free online classifieds, hedge funds buying and stripping papers for assets, the demographic time bomb -- newspaper readers are dying off and not being replaced, non-profit journalism as a possible way to sustain local accountability. Littau's conclusion: "The seeds were planted long ago by greedy, short-sighted owners."

Littau linked to the Trusting News project, which is researching why readers don't trust journalists and working with newspapers to develop and test strategies for rebuilding trust.

In his thread, Littau also wrote:

What I'd implore you to do, though, is look for ways to invest in local news because that is where it matters most. Good god, you think Washington is corrupt? Try City Hall. Some of the worst stuff I saw as a reporter happened there.

But if local paper ownership is involved with local corruption, what then? A bit later, KTUL tweeted the stub of an AP piece on a new documentary lionizing New York City columnists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill:

The two men embodied a time when New York was a rollicking and complicated place, and each lived for the streets and stories of the little guys who made the city run. Every city had their own Breslins or Hamills, who made the powerful tremble and shake their fists. Their newspapers were required reading.

Yet a string of layoffs at media companies this week illustrates the peril faced by local journalism today that has made "truth to power" newspaper columnists an endangered species.

This may not have been the case in New York with Breslin and Hamill, but how often, in smaller cities, were "truth to power" columnists in the local paper really attack dogs used to tear down activists, reformer elected officials, and whistleblowers who threatened taxpayer-funded gravy trains for the publisher and his cronies?

In the summer of 1983, I was in Manila,and the English language newspapers were filled with op-eds and news analysis pieces about this corrupt murderer named Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who was threatening to return to the Philippines. Some columnists treated him as a danger to the republic, some treated him as a laughing stock, but if you had taken them at face value, you wouldn't have known that Ninoy's real problem was that his popularity posed a threat to Ferdinand Marcos's hold on power.

UPDATE:

One of Nick Sandmann's lawyers has assembled a 15 minute video montage showing what happened at the Lincoln Memorial:

January 21, 1989: Eagle watching, a Pizza Hut lunch, an unintentionally taunting headline, an Oklahoma sunset, a hymn, a ring, a question, and a "yes." Here's what I wrote about it ten years ago.

19890121-Oklahoman-Bush-New_Engagement.png

Happy anniversary, darling.

Some recent articles have had me thinking about blogs, what we had, what we lost, and how we might be able to get it back. As massive social media sites have brought the global conversation under centralized control, concentrating the power to exclude people and opinions in the hands of censors who are not well-disposed to people of my political and religious persuasion, I find myself wistfully remembering the days when the conversation took place between independent bloggers on their own sites.

Tim Challies, a Canadian pastor who has been blogging for 5,553 consecutive days, has noticed recently that many of the blogs he followed and found profitable have ceased publication, and he has begun a series of posts on the topic. His specific concern is with blogs by Christians about their faith, but it could be extended to political blogs, which have also been in steep decline.

He describes the characteristics of three categories of blog -- the individual blog, the group blog, and the ministry blog. The latter -- run by an organization as part of its overall web presence and public identity -- Challies argues is not actually a blog.

What is essential to those ministry sites (the ability to solicit, accept, reject, and edit articles) contradicts an essential element of a blog (the ability to write without editorial control). Where blogging is a medium by and for amateurs, ministry blogs have a paradigm that is far more professional. Again, they have their place but, while they may displace blogs, they don't quite replace them.

And as I think about the future of Christian blogging, this is one of my foremost concerns--that as bloggers migrate away from personal blogs to instead submit their content to ministry sites, we are giving away the ability to say what we want to say, when we want to say it, and how we want to say it. We are also diminishing the training ground in which we grow in our ability to express ourselves with greater skill. That's not at all to impugn the motives or track records of the various ministries, but to say we will develop better writing and writers when we can write substantially and freely.

Ministry blogs have parallels in the political world: Blogs and news sites run by think-tanks, newspaper op-eds, the websites of politically-focused magazines -- all these involve a level of editorial control that constrains a writer's freedom to choose a topic or express an unpopular opinion.

In a second article, Challies gives seven reasons why a Christian should keep blogging or consider starting a blog, and most of them could apply beyond the realm of faith blogging. Challies talks about an individual blogger being able to build a personal connection with his audience and reach them with ideas that they might not otherwise encounter, because they aren't perusing the big ministry web sites. He writes:

Just because something has been said on one of these sites, doesn't mean that it won't be beneficial to say it elsewhere. If you can speak to a crucial topic and reach fifty or a hundred people who otherwise wouldn't consider it, you've done good work. You may find the most effective way to serve others isn't to get the message out to the widest audience, but to your audience--the one you've built a relationship with over time, the one who likes you, not just what you say.

I don't know that I built a readership that likes me, but I think there was a group of readers who looked to BatesLine to act as a filter -- a blogger who shared their values and could be trusted to curate a selection of useful news and ideas, particularly around election time.

So given that the solo blog still has value, how can we regain the visibility it once had?

We are at least a decade beyond what might be called the golden age of blogging. By the mid-2000s, blog software was stable and accessible without requiring significant technical skills. Google had purchased Blogger, and clunky add-on features (remember comments via HaloScan? photo hosting via Picasa?) were integrated into the blog platform. WordPress emerged as an easy-to-use alternative with a creative user base. Individual voices proliferated.

But it was tough to organize all those voices and keep up with what people were saying. How could you keep up with all of the sites you might like to follow? For me as a blogger, it was important to know what other bloggers were talking about, as it would be fodder for my own blog.

Conversations across websites happened as one blogger would post an entry linking to another blogger's writing; the software would automatically generate a trackback or pingback, creating a link on the other site back to the commenting article and notifying the writer of the original item. But unscrupulous website owners found the mechanism a convenient way to plant inbound links on other sites to boost search-engine page rank, and legitimate trackbacks were lost in a sea of spam, forcing bloggers to adopt a sequence of strategies to thwart trackback spammers. Most bloggers wound up turning off the capability as not worth the hassle.

We used Technorati to find out who was linking to us and to track blog posts on topics of interest. Blogging software could be configured so that, when a new post was published, a notification would be sent to Technorati, which could read special topic tags embedded in the post.

Rob Neppell (a.k.a. N. Z. Bear -- "a bear, the world, and a strong urge to hibernate") had a blog called The Truth Laid Bear, and he developed the TTLB Ecosystem, calculating blog popularity each week based on inbound links reported by the SiteMeter software (another third-party blog add-on), and grouping them in a cleverly named hierarchy of fauna, from "Insignificant Microbes" to "Higher Beings," the latter of which consisted of the ten most popular blogs. On November 27, 2005, BatesLine had reached "Large Mammal" status (my peak ecosystem level), ranked #695, with 200 unique inbound links and 697 average daily unique visits. On that particular week, Michelle Malkin's blog was #1, followed by Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, and the Daily Kos.

Blog carnivals were another means of helping readers discover good content. Bloggers would email links to their best recent writing to the carnival editor, who would publish the links to the best submissions in that week's carnival entries. Often the editorship and hosting responsibilities would rotate among participating blogs. A blog carnival was often focused on a particular topic or niche, but the most venerable of the bunch, Carnival of the Vanities, was a catchall. Here's the 5th edition of Carnival of the Vanities, from October 2002. Charles G. Hill at Dustbury reported at the time that the "first day of the Carnival of the Vanities gives this site about a 25 to 30 percent spike in traffic -- at least, on those weeks when I manage to come up with something to submit."

The blogroll was a more automated method of blogging connectivity. At first these were handcrafted HTML links in the sidebar to favorite blogs, but there was a third-party service called blogrolling.com, which allowed you to manage your list of favorite blogs online and incorporate your list dynamically on your blog using a snippet of Javascript. By 2007, I had 228 blogs on my blogroll, just prior to a planned pruning. I had it set to show the most recently updated blogs at the top, in hopes of rewarding blogpals who were consistent in their writing with more visits from my readers. This snapshot of BatesLine from November 6, 2005, shows my personal blogroll, plus three other blogroll groups in which I participated -- the League of Reformed Bloggers (for Calvinist Christians, founded by Tim Challies and David Wayne, aka Jollyblogger), Wictory Wednesday (blogging to encourage volunteering and donations for the George W. Bush re-election campaign and for Republican Senate candidates in the 2004 election), and Blogs for Terri (support for Terri Schiavo's fight for life). The incentive for posting these group blogrolls was to boost the number of inbound links and thus the page rank of members, and it offered the possibility of gaining new readers through serendipitous visits from people browsing the blogrolls.

As a further service to the readers and aide to myself, and in hopes of drawing visitors to BatesLine in between my own posts, I set up an account with NewsGator and added pages showing the most recent posts from my favorite bloggers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and around the world. These NewsGator-driven blogroll pages provided a link, title, and timestamp, plus a brief snippet, for the latest 50 posts in each category. It was a quick and convenient way to get a sense of what people were talking about. It had the added benefit of surfacing posts from bloggers who had written something after a long period of inactivity, work I might have missed if I had had to visit their site to find it.

Most blogs published some sort of syndication feed, which could be read by an aggregator like NewsGator. These syndication feeds were written in a type of eXtensible Markup Language (XML) called RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Aggregators would periodically query the RSS feeds for each site then blend them together into a single feed, usually sorted in reverse chronological order.

Locally, Bobby Holt, who had a blog called Tulsa Topics, built an aggregator page at TulsaBloggers.net, featuring the latest posts from a handful of Tulsa-focused blogs.

NewsGator eliminated its services to bloggers in 2009, at which point I was subscribed to nearly 300 RSS feeds. Google Reader offered a similar service, so I exported my blogroll OPML files from NewsGator, imported them to Google Reader, then changed the Javascript to pull latest articles from my Google Reader aggregated feeds, but with a loss of some features. In 2013, Google dropped Reader; some believed it was an attempt to drive traffic to its GooglePlus social media platform. When I downloaded my OPML from Google Reader for the last time, in July 2013, it had 384 feeds, of which 161 had some connection to Oklahoma.

In the meantime, social media sites were growing. Facebook and Twitter provided convenient ways to follow a stream of news and ideas. Initially, these sites would show you everything posted by the accounts you chose to follow, with the most recent first. Over time, they switched to a curated approach, driven by the desire to generate revenue, in which an algorithm would determine which posts you would see, and in what order. If you wanted your Facebook followers to see everything you posted, you'd have to pay for the privilege.

Social media has also redirected and dissipated the energy that writers used to vent in blog posts. Once you've responded to some outrage on Twitter or Facebook, there isn't the urgency to address the topic on your blog.

Without a readily-available RSS aggregator, and with social media giants filtering bloggers' attempts to notify readers about new posts, it was harder to keep touch with what independent bloggers were writing. Bloggers saw their traffic diminish and with it the motivation to write.

Nevertheless, there are still bloggers that are plugging away on their own sites, and nearly all of them publish an RSS feed by default, allowing for aggregation. SoonerPolitics.org has pages aggregating feeds from Oklahoma bloggers, using a service called Feedwind.

I recently came across a way to do my own aggregation here at BatesLine and am in the process of testing the system, figuring out the best way to embed it in the site, and rebuilding the list of RSS feeds, finding which ones have moved, which are utterly gone, and which have been taken over by spammers. No promises, but my intention is to provide public pages showing the latest posts by bloggers of interest in several categories, as before, including a pages for Tulsa blogs, Oklahoma blogs, and a variety of other topics. The hope is to have a permanent solution that doesn't depend on a third-party service that could go the way of NewsGator and Google Reader.

MORE:

Here's a helpful glossary of blogging on Wikipedia.

Charles G. Hill "take[s] arms against a sea of comments" with a blogger's soliloquy.

At Motherboard, Sinclair Target writes on the rise and demise of RSS. What was expected to be "a way for both users and content aggregators to create their own customized channels out of everything the web had to offer." The story quotes, Kevin Werbach, writing in 1999, that RSS "would evolve into the core model for the Internet economy, allowing businesses and individuals to retain control over their online personae while enjoying the benefits of massive scale and scope." How we got from that decentralized vision to today's corporate-owned information silos is a story of clashing visions and dissipated effort.

Another interesting map find. This Rand McNally Vest Pocket Map of Oklahoma from 1910 appears to be an earlier map, overprinted in red to show numbers indexed to railway names and parcel companies and to show electric railway lines.

The U. S. Post Office did not deliver parcels until January 1, 1913. Prior to that date, the parcel delivery business was handled by a cartel of companies. The index to this map lists four: Wells Fargo & Co.'s Express, American Express, Pacific Express, and United States Express. Each railroad was tied with a specific express company -- Santa Fe and Wells Fargo, Frisco and United States Express, Katy and American Express, etc. Presumably, you'd need to know which town was served by which express company in order to send a parcel. This U. S. Postal Service history commemorating 100 years of parcel post explains that the lack of competition that brought demands for the government to enter the market.

The map of electric rail lines shows interurban lines linking Tulsa, Sapulpa, and Kiefer (now the de-electrified Tulsa Sapulpa Union Railway); McAlester, Krebs, Haileyville, and Hartshorne (the Choctaw Railway and Lighting Co.); Shawnee and Tecumseh; Capitol Hill (south Oklahoma City), Oklahoma City, and Edmond, with a broken line indicating expansion plans to Guthrie.

Linking the Shawnee and Sapulpa interurbans is a broken double line indicating a proposed electric railway connection passing through Prague in Lincoln County, Paden in Okfuskee County, Newby and Tabor in Creek County. Lest that seem like too long a route for trains running on overhead wires, the Sacramento Northern Railroad, an electric interurban line, connected Chico, Sacramento, and Oakland, 183 miles from end to end.

1910-Oklahoma-RandMcNally-Shawnee-Sapulpa_Interurban.png

Sapulpa to Shawnee is one of many long-distance interurban proposals that never came to fruition. The December 16, 1910, edition of the Canadian Valley News, published in the town of Jones in Oklahoma County, reported that work had begun on the Tulsa to Sapulpa interurban line. "This is the line that will build on west to Oklahoma City, passing through Jones." The November 10, 1911, edition of the same paper reports an expected consolidation of the Tulsa-Okmulgee and Sapulpa interurban lines. I had never heard that Okmulgee had any sort of electric railway, much less a connection to Tulsa.

Another surprise on the map is an electric railway line beginning at Clinton, then extending west and north about 20 miles, into an area that lacks other railways.

1910-Oklahoma-RandMcNally-Clinton_Interurban.png

This may be all that was completed of a proposal reported in the July 28, 1906, Trade Bulletin:

A WESTERN OKLAHOMA INTERURBAN.

The Clinton, Cheyenne & Canadian Interurban Railway Co. is the name of a new company, recently organized at Cheyenne and incorporated with a capital stock of $1,000,000. The officers and directors are C. G. Gilkerson, president; L. L. Collins, vice president; R. V. Converse, secretary-treasurer; L. W. Pate and W. T. Bowers, all of Cheyenne. The proposed road will be built from Clinton, Custer county, to Cheyenne, Roger Mills county, and then to Canadian. texas. A branch line will be constructed from Cheyenne to Mangum. The projected road will open up entirely new country not now reached by any steam or electric line and should it be successfully pushed to completion, will be of great value to the farmers and merchants of this section and also a profitable investment for the stockholders.

The same page mentions plans from an electric interurban line from Ardmore to Lawton, one from Newkirk to Oklahoma City via Peckham, Blackwell, Tonkawa, Billings, Perry, Guthrie, and Edmond; and Muskogee as the "center of a great interurban electric system."

Subsequent maps don't show proposed routes, except that the 1911 Rand McNally map of Oklahoma and 1912 Rand McNally map of Oklahoma have a dotted line from Sapulpa to Tulsa.

The 1913 Rand McNally map deletes the Clinton electric line and shows instead a steam railway on that route, the Clinton, Oklahoma, and Western, from Clinton to Strong City in Roger Mills County, via Butler and Hammon. Later maps show it continuing on to Cheyenne and the state line. The Oklahoma City interurban connects north to Edmond, south to Moore, and west to El Reno. The Sapulpa system has a branch to Kiefer and another south-southwest of town. There is a Muskogee-Fort Gibson line, a Bartlesville-Dewey line, a line from Miami north to Hattenville (Geneva post office), and the aforementioned McAlester-Hartshorne and Shawnee-Tecumseh lines. The 1913 map also shows the transfer of a six-mile-wide band of southern Kiowa County to Tillman County and 45 square miles from Wagoner to Tulsa County.

The 1928 Rand McNally map of Oklahoma may show the peak of electric rail in the state. Sapulpa to Tulsa interurban is complete, and the Kiefer branch has been extended to Mounds. The Sand Springs Railway is listed as a steam and electric railroad. The Oklahoma City system now reaches Guthrie and Norman. Muskogee has a second branch to East Muskogee. There are new lines connecting Nowata and Coffeyville in the northeast and Lawton and Ft. Sill in the southeast. The McAlester to Hartshorne line still exists, but the Bartlesville and Shawnee interurbans are gone.

MORE: Oklahoma rail historian Cecil Cloud writes that the Shawnee-Sapulpa proposal "may have been part of a much more comprehensive scheme that was being floated at that time":

Those were the peak years of the interurban mania, and paper roads were being promoted across the state. One that was being boomed in Sapulpa would have connected almost every major town in Northeastern Oklahoma, but it was never completed.

Tabor was just north of what would become Slick and northwest of Beggs.. Paden to Newby to Tabor to Sapulpa would have made a connection from the Fort Smith and Western at Paden to the Frisco at Sapulpa. It would also have to cross both the Deep Fork and Little Deep Fork, as well as some rugged terrain southwest of Sapulpa.

The Oklahoma and Southwestern Railway, as well as the town of Slick,did not come into being until after 1920, but the proposed line would have crossed the O&SW slightly north of the Slick depot.

During the interurban era, the O&SW was advanced, along with the Midland Valley, as a potential merger partner for the Sapulpa and Interurban. Local and regional sources indicate that the Sapulpa and Interurban line south of Kiefer was taken up to build the line to Tulsa. Some grading may have been completed southwest of Mounds, in the direction of the proposed junction with the O&SW at Tolon. According to an old Frisco timetable, Tolon was between Edna and Nuyaka. There is a 1920s vintage OCC map in the town museum at Davis which shows a proposed extension of the Sapulpa and Interurban south from Mounds and almost to Okmulgee--but this was never built. The same map shows the Midland Valley branch from Jenks, through Perryman and Watkins, though Glenpool and on to a junction with the Sapulpa and Interurban at Kiefer.

I have a digital copy of the 1908 Rand Oklahoma Map, and this line does not show on it, nor does it show on the OCC 1909 Railroads of Oklahoma map. My 1908 map was also overstamped with the names of express companies and their associated railroads, as this was before the merger which created the Railway Express Agency.

The 1910s mania for interurbans, with new plans announced before any attempt to assess the geographical or financial feasibility of the proposals, brings to mind the airline mania of the 1990s, when airline boosters convinced city and state governments to subsidize new airlines with the promise of non-stop flights to the coast, which never materialized.

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Mountains Are There to Be Climbed: The Next United Methodism - Juicy Ecumenism

"Our critics have effectively framed the debate in terms of inclusion and exclusion. This is a godsend because it allows them to run a narrative about slavery and women in ministry that puts us on the defensive. It allows them to exploit the natural opposition to any idea of exclusion, for the default position will always initially be in favor of inclusion. It also allows a virtuous narrative about the moral arc of history which requires that we be identified as obsolete and out of step with the times....

"This whole way of thinking needs initially to be seen for what it is, namely, a toxic combination of persuasive definition, virtue-signaling story-telling, and fallacious reasoning. The ultimate issue for the conservative is none of these moves, much less a combination of them. The crucial issue at the end of the day is one of faithfulness to our Lord and to the tested tradition of the church. The failure to recognize this is an egregious error. It is the old game of Sein and Schein, much practiced by the mode of thought beloved of the Frankfurt School of philosophy, so that what seems to be true is not true....

"...Witness the aggressive repudiation of any distinction at this stage between one's person and one's behavior. Failure to accept the behavior, in this case, gay marriage, is interpreted and experienced as a rejection of one's gender expression and one's moral identity and thus as a deep act of hostility to the deep identity of the persons involved. Unless one fully accepts the gender expression represented by gay marriage (and ordination), then one is in effect rejecting the personhood of gays and lesbians. One is automatically pronounced guilty of causing harm....

"Psychologically, we are dealing in some instances with an adult form of adolescence. Of course, there is pain when we run into folk who disagree with us at the various levels of identity that I have just charted; yet in the current debate, all this is forgotten. The only way conservatives can avoid causing pain is to agree with the moral and ecclesial agenda of our critics. However, to insist on this is intellectual madness; it is a case of cooking the books by means of moral and emotional blackmail. Frankly, we have had enough of this verbal bullying; it is time to confront this form of intellectual malpractice and refuse its assumptions."

NOAA Historical Declination Viewer

An interactive map showing historical magnetic variation (the angle between true north and the direction a magnetic compass will point) since 1590. The movement of the north magnetic pole has accelerated in recent years. Since 1963, magnetic north has moved from 75 degrees north in the northern islands of Canada, to 86 degrees north in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

This Forbes story explains the impact of the magnetic pole shift on navigation.

Ken LaCorte: I Stopped the Stormy Daniels Story at Fox News. Here's Why.

"It lacked: any mention of payments, a hush money contract or any corroborating evidence beyond the two secondhand accounts.

"On top of that, Stormy Daniels herself had publicly denied the whole thing, a denial she would maintain for another year.

"The story wasn't close to being publishable, and my decision to hold it was a no-brainer. I didn't do it to help Trump and never said nor implied otherwise. It was such an easy call that I never even informed my direct boss or anyone in management about it....

"In her 11,635 word piece, [Jane Meyer] didn't find room to mention the paucity of evidence we had, the conflicting statements nor the other outlets which responded exactly as we did.

"The New Yorker piece couldn't have been more successful for them. In a media world where criticizing Fox News is an industry staple, the piece was picked up by almost every major outlet and Jane Mayer was feted throughout journalism.

"My non-quote quote and wrong story appeared everywhere from cable news to Jimmy Kimmel to the news outlets that re-wrote the story, including The Washington Post, Guardian, Newsweek, The Hill, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and at least 70 others.

"I say 're-wrote' instead of 'reported' because not a single reporter reached out to me. None.

"I'm an easy guy to find, especially since I'm in the process of launching a startup news site intent on bringing fairness back to journalism. This whole episode is an example of why the media has a credibility crisis.

"The ultimate irony is that in its zeal to hang Fox News for journalistic malfeasance, the media tossed journalistic standards in the trash can and gave readers the 100% wrong impression of Fox and the Stormy Daniels story.

"Journalists: these are the reasons why half of America believes Donald Trump when he calls us 'fake.'"

The Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., Defends His Decision to Represent Harvey Weinstein | The New Yorker

A few noisy students at the dorm Sullivan oversees have protested his involvement in the case, and the Harvard administration has focused on placating them rather than backing the faculty member and the legal traditions of presumption of innocence and the right to counsel.

"[Q.] Is this on the dean of Harvard College, who launched this survey, or is this in response to student pressure? Do you blame the administration, or do you think that the students forced his hand?"

"No, students have every right to protest. It's in the nature of students to protest. The adults in the room, however, do not have to react in the way that they have."

....

"[Q.]" There's been a lot written about political correctness running amok on campus the last few years. Do you consider this an example of it? Has this incident changed the way you think about that larger issue?"

"To the first part of your question, the term political correctness has so much freight that I'm going to choose my own term and say that this situation is a particular instantiation of a larger threat to both academic freedom and the norm of open and robust exchanges of ideas that have typically characterized universities. It has not changed my thinking, because I have long been concerned with forms of silencing that go on in the university space with respect to people who have different ideas. I have gotten scores of notes from students who very quietly give strong support to me, and I appreciate those notes. But one constant is that they say that they feel as though they cannot say anything publicly because they will be tarred and feathered as 'rape sympathizers' and that they're disinclined to step out publicly. This sort of thing has no space in the university. People have to be able to exchange ideas, even ideas with which they disagree, freely and openly. That's that."

How to check BIOS version in Windows 10

"wmic bios get biosversion" or msinfo32

How does TfL's Oyster card work? | Alphr

Transport for London's travel card: "The new Oyster cards still have no battery or power source, so are only powered when they're near an RFID reader, but they contain their own operating system, have a file structure for storing files and data, and their processing functions allow them to perform encryption to the far more resilient AES 128-bit standard. Pretty clever stuff for something that looks like a credit card."

Michigan Daily Digital Archives - October 27, 1977 (vol. 88, iss. 43) - Dirty Old Man

A wire service story about Walter Bell, 87-year-old owner of the Capri Theater in Dewey, Oklahoma, which had gained a reputation as the "Dewey Dirties." Bell had been showing "art films" and what he called "semi-art" films since 1964, claiming it was the only way he could make a living from the theater, which was barred from showing first-run films while they were running four miles down the road in Bartlesville. Bell was charged with obscenity the year before but had been acquitted.

Colorado Springs wrestler refuses to wrestle girl, knocks self out of tournament

High school wrestler Brendan Johnston, a modern-day Eric Liddell.

'"I'm not really comfortable with a couple of things with wrestling a girl," Johnston explained. "The physical contact, there's a lot of it in wrestling.

'"And I guess the physical aggression, too. I don't want to treat a young lady like that on the mat. Or off the mat. And not to disrespect the heart or the effort that she's put in. That's not what I want to do, either."

'Johnston is forever a part of Colorado state tournament lore now. He's cool with that. His decision to forfeit twice at the 2019 state tourney -- effectively eliminating himself from a competition he had a solid shot at winning -- on personal and religious grounds rather than wrestle two girl competitors, may divide your inner circle right down the middle. He's cool with that, too.

'"Wrestling is something we do, it's not who we are," Johnston told The Denver Post before forfeiting to Rios on Saturday in his final match as a high-school wrestler. "And there are more important things to me than my wrestling. And I'm willing to have those priorities."'

The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America - The Verge

"The fourth source [of guidance for moderation decisions] is perhaps the most problematic: Facebook's own internal tools for distributing information. While official policy changes typically arrive every other Wednesday, incremental guidance about developing issues is distributed on a near-daily basis. Often, this guidance is posted to Workplace, the enterprise version of Facebook that the company introduced in 2016. Like Facebook itself, Workplace has an algorithmic News Feed that displays posts based on engagement. During a breaking news event, such as a mass shooting, managers will often post conflicting information about how to moderate individual pieces of content, which then appear out of chronological order on Workplace. Six current and former employees told me that they had made moderation mistakes based on seeing an outdated post at the top of their feed. At times, it feels as if Facebook's own product is working against them. The irony is not lost on the moderators."

Quick Silver P51 Mustang - Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities

Volumes of federal acquisition regulations exist to ensure that federal contracting is fair to every business that seeks to do work for the government. But sometimes only one company can do the job, and even then, there's a process that has to be followed, forms to be filled out, notices to be posted, even to bring in a historic aircraft for an air show flyover. Fair contracting isn't cheap.

"The 11th Contracting Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland intends to award a simplified acquisition on a sole source basis to Quick Silver P-51 Airshows for an aerial demonstration with a North American P-51D Quick Silver Mustang for the 2019 Air Show, in accordance with FAR 6.302-1(a)(2), Only one responsible source is capable of responding due to the unique or specialized nature of the work."


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